The Budget Committee deplored the heavy financial yoke of this particular agreement, consuming no less than 25% of the Union's budget line for fisheries. Of all the EU's ongoing bilateral agreements, the accord with Morocco is the least cost-efficient, placing the heaviest relative burden on EU tax payers.
A majority of the budget committee this afternoon agreed to rapporteur François Alfonsi's conclusion:
"The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee of Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to request that Parliament reject the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the fisheries partnership agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco, and expresses its wish that the forthcoming protocol be drafted to include stronger environmental and economic provisions more beneficial to development of all the local populations involved".
Just an hour later, an overwhelming majority of the Development Committee came to the same conclusion. Relying on the European Commission’s external evaluation of the contentious agreement, rapporteur Isabella Lövin reported that the agreement did not have any substantial positive impact on the viability of the fisheries sector from a development perspective. Only 15% of the funds available for sectoral support had been used by Morocco. In addition, EU fishing had only generated 0,04% of jobs in Morocco's fishing sector.
The Development Committee's opinion also laments that the FPA fails entirely at addressing whether the agreement has been concluded in accordance of the wishes of the people of Western Sahara.
Amendments by French MEP Maurice Ponga, Belgian MEP Louis Michel and the Spanish socialists on the committee, seeking Parliament to consent to the EU-Morocco fish deal, were rejected.
“We expect Parliament to follow the recommendations from these committees. We don’t see one single argument why the unethical fisheries should go on. EU institutions have themselves declared the agreement to be ecologically damaging and in violation of international law. Adding that the European Commission's independent evaluation documents that the fish pact with Morocco also constitutes a significant waste of EU tax payers' money, it should be evident that the EU should spend its money elsewhere”, stated Sara Eyckmans, coordinator of the international organisation Western Sahara Resource Watch.
The EU considers to pay Morocco to fish in occupied Western Sahara. An EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement from 2013 would be both politically controversial and in violation of international law.
The international Fish Elsewhere! campaign demands the EU to avoid such unethical operations, and go fishing somewhere else. No fishing in Western Sahara should take place until the conflict is solved.